Annual rept. 1 Dec 95-30 Nov 96,
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH LAB OF ELECTRONICS
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Matter wave interferometers, in which atomic or molecular de Broglie waves are coherently split and then recombined to produce interference fringes, have opened up exciting new possibilities for precision and fundamental measurements with complex particles. The MIT interferometer in particular is the only demonstrated atom interferometer that spatially separates the two parts of the matter waves in a way that allows the insertion of a barrier between them before they are recombined.The aim of our research program is to take advantage of this ability to accurately measure interactions that displace the de Broglie wave phase in order to make qualitatively new and precise measurements in atomic and molecular physics, to devise new techniques for measuring acceleration and rotation, and to perform fundamental tests of quantum mechanics. In addition, we are continuing to develop new atom optical methods such as a new laser-grated velocity selection technique to improve the precision of future interferometric measurements and the use of time dependent beam splitters to probe longitudinal coherences in atom beams. As an integral part of our program, we are also continuing to develop new atomic physics tools such as smaller period gratings for wider separation of atom beams and precision interaction regions using nanotechnology and micromachining.
- Atomic and Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy